Spotlight on the new National Curriculum for Foreign Languages

As Foreign Language Lead Producer, I’m delighted that each pupil at Key Stage 2 level will be entitled to learn a foreign language.

Children at primary level know naturally and intuitively that language is an open invitation for exploration and engagement. Playing with languages is a fun experience they are proud of and love sharing with their peers and families. Research has shown that learning a foreign language is beneficial not only for social development but also for cognitive development: researchers such as Dr Ellen Bialystok have discovered that “the cognitive skill that seems to be the most enhanced by learning a second language is critical thinking or problem-solving”.

2014 is an intense and exciting year for foreign languages at EducationCity. We are developing new content to support key areas of the new National Curriculum 2014 (NC2014) while creating engaging  learning experiences.

We are developing Play Live, a French and Spanish online multiplayer competition for Key Stage 2 pupils with more than 700 questions about different topics. Pupils will be able to play within their classroom, school or with worldwide peers. Multimedia questions and a range of game modes  will ensure an engaging and diverse learning experience. 

On the curriculum side, we have been working hard with our Education Lead, Pat Mainprize, to remap our content to the requirements of the new NC2014 objectives and identifying the key areas where teachers need the most support. 

Phonics is a core skill in language learning as well as one of the biggest challenges! As such, it has been largely represented in the new NC2014. To work with specific phonic sounds, we are creating a range of sorting sounds Topic Tools with all the specific French and Spanish sounds. Topic Tools will continue to be a great resource to reinforce vocabulary acquisition bringing traditional language learning games to the Interactive Whiteboard. Remember, check the settings to add a countdown timer, lives, team options and all sort of settings to keep the challenge up!

How many times have you heard: “Languages is action”? To get confident with spontaneous target language talk we would recommend using ThinkIts. They are ideal for discussion and talk for a purpose. Have you used them already? Good luck getting the pupils moving onto the next activity!

It is really important for us that teachers and primary schools make the most of our resources and their budget. This year we are going to add more than 200 support materials with loads of ideas for and beyond the lesson.  Did you know that across the resource, there are plenty of opportunities for target talk exercises in pairs or teams? Check out the Teacher Zone to find them!

In all, I’m pleased that the new NC2014 raises the profile of language learning at Key Stage 2, providing great opportunities for pupils, but realise there are also a few challenges for teachers!  At EducationCity we are working hard to support both: for pupils, there are new games and challenges to explore languages and, hopefully, continue a lifelong learning career; for teachers, loads of new, ready to use materials to bring a piece of France or Spain to your classroom!

Explore and have fun!

Sandra Ejarque Pellicer – Lead Languages Producer